Finding Perspective

Black versus White. Republican versus Democrat. Police versus Community. Government versus Government. Celebrity versus Celebrity.

Our world has become angry and divided...torn and forced to choose sides. The news and social media outlets are riddled with stories that sadly lead to the formation of rigid opinions and the waging of war against those who hold opposing views.

There are situations like Ferguson, the Middle East, Immigration, Bill Cosby, and even Martha Stewart and Gwyneth Paltrow, for goodness' sake. You even have GOP staffer Elizabeth Lauten waging war against Sasha and Malia Obama and, subsequently, a large bulk of the nation waging war against her for her perceived bullyish behavior towards minors.

All this hate and separation has me very concerned and bothered. I find it upsetting and disruptive.

And then along came a little blessing. And it came in the form of sibling rivalry.

I know what you're thinking. How can she possibly see brothers and sisters fighting as anything good?

I admit it. I'm usually the mom who goes bonkers when the kids start fighting. It drives me nuts! Remember The Get-Along Shirt? Yeah, that's typically how I react when unrest breaks out in my home. But this time it was completely different.

Allow me to explain...

Last night, I walked upstairs to tuck my 3 youngest boys (John-Paul, Allen-Michael and Thomas) and my 3 girls (Lauryn, Kourtney and Chloe) into bed. The 3 boys share a room, and the girls are in the room directly across the hall.

When I reached the landing and approached the girls' room, I came face-to-face with a door covered in homemade signs.

IMG_8186

Several months ago, my daughters formed a group called The Marshmallow Girls. Last night, their room had clearly been designated as their clubhouse and they were happy to showcase it.

IMG_8188

They were also quite clear about their intentions to keep "stinky boys" out, as illustrated by the crossed through picture of a boy with flies surrounding him.

IMG_8190

My three "stinky boys" recognized this as an enemy attack and they immediately took defensive action.

IMG_8191

As a result, a new group was formed. The Beignet Boys! And you guessed it...No "rat girls" allowed!

IMG_8194

So, why is this a blessing?

Well, for once, they weren't bickering or hitting one another. They were creatively (and quite hysterically) making use of their time. And although they were forming alliances and separating themselves from "the enemy," I've seen firsthand what they really think of one another.

I've seen Chloe console Allen-Michael. I've seen John-Paul pour Kourtney a glass of water. I've seen Lauryn tell Thomas it's going to be okay. I've seen them all dance and sing together. I've seen them share hugs and sincere I love you's.

They all look out for one another.  And yes, sometimes they fight. Sometimes, they draw the proverbial line in the sand and declare "Room War."

This particular battle was different from their usual spats. It was refreshing. It made me smile and giggle. It lifted the heaviness of our hostile society. It was a much needed dose of innocence in a world so stained and corrupt.

And though it may never happen again, in that moment, I found a blessing...

A Blessing of Peace and Joy in Sibling Rivalry

Helloooo?

Anybody out there?

Red eyed tree frog sitting on black cup

I haven't forgotten about you all, and I can only hope you haven't forgotten about me.

I've been so wrapped up in all this Crazy, it's hard to believe that it's been 2 months since I last shared with you all. And I don't mean the "crazy" kind of Crazy, I mean the "good" kind of Crazy.

In the month that the kids have been out of school, I've finished some artwork, completed some poetry, wrote a script for a play, submitted the aforementioned script to a theater company, and I am now working on a book.

But those aren't the reasons things have been the good kind of Crazy.

In the midst of all that, I have spent some amazing time with my family. The kind of time when you're almost too busy soaking it all up to remember to take pictures, much less blog about it. The kind of time when I am completely content with taking mental snapshots and allowing the memories to create their own captions on my heart.

However, one special moment I was able to capture was of me, my 8 children, my mother, my father, my brother and his wife and son all hand-in-hand around the wondrous Angel Oak tree.

AngelOakHands

AngelOak2014

AngelOak2014_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spending time with my family was beautiful and grand...as beautiful and grand as this phenomenal tree.

But once all the family celebrations, like my brother's visit, the Daddy Daughter Dance and my wedding anniversary getaway, began to slow down, I felt anxiety come on. The fussiness of life reared its ugly head...once again. I felt rushed and pressed for time. It's already July, only one month left to get all the things checked off of my Summertime To-Do List. Panic settled in and I felt paralyzed to it.

A couple of days ago, while in the shower, I heard a knock at the bathroom door followed by a shout..."MOM!" It was Kourtney. I poked my head out of the shower and answered, "Yes?" Here's a tip: There's no sense in acting as if you don't hear them outside of the bathroom door...they'll just stay there!

"Mama, can we go outside and play with the fuzzies?" she continued. Completely confused by this bizarre question, I replied, "What fuzzies?" Very certain of herself, she answered, "You know! The fuzzies! The fuzzies falling from the sky!"

She was talking about the fluff that looks a little like dandelion that has been floating around. "Sure," I said, "once I'm out of the shower."

She left, but her innocence, along with its message, remained with me. And it was loud and clear.

When I was focused on all the things that made me feel "fuzzy" inside, I was still able to get my work done. I spent wonderful time with family and still got a great deal of writing done. Maybe not as much writing as I would have liked, but still a great deal. And I was relaxed, happy and accomplished.

But when I set my sights on the fussiness of it all, my vision got blurred and I got stuck. Stuck on the final destination of the journey, instead of enjoying each stop along the way.

In May, I was a member of the inaugural cast of the Listen To Your Mother: Charleston show (check out my performance here). But I'm a firm believer that sometimes, we just need to listen to our children...follow their lead.

When we focus too intently on the To-Do's of life, it will inevitably cause us to lose perspective. Remember to enjoy the journey.

Less Fussing...More Fuzzies!

fuzzies1fuzzies2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
~How do you keep your perspective in line when the fussiness begins to take over?
Please share in the comments below!