Thursday, December 10

Thankful Anyway Thursday

It's easy to be thankful for the good stuff, can you be thankful for the not so good?
(as serious or light-hearted as you like)
read more here

While in England, and with family, the Wildflower was given new, ahem, suggestions.... from family. Suggestions I would not make and that irked me.

- jump on the sofa!
- go on, throw it (of various items)
- burp louder
- say, smelly uncle

Encouragement to throw things across a room, or to say 'mean' words to others. I just don't understand their thinking. These suggestions, and others similar, were made even after hints from me, or downright direct requests. So it was mostly being ignored that was really tough. Everyone felt they knew better. Or simply enjoyed being defiant. It's a very difficult situation to be in - to have people purposefully not respect your wishes.

And of course this was all going on during a very trying time as it was. My patience was tested.

I don't want to raise my girl in a bubble, and I want a strong bond for her with an extended family. But at under 2 years of age, I want to include as much of the 'good' influences and as little of the not so good. At some point, relatively soon, she'll be picking up all sorts of less than enchanting behaviours and phrases.... but is it too much to ask for my parental wishes to come first, for now? I value respect, kindness, compassion, consideration. I felt like I was amongst everything but that. All I ask is that I'm heard, and that I'm supported by those closest to me.

Kathy Pitras, Warrior Mother to be thankful for this...

I am thankful for the input she received, that I disliked, anyway because...
... it gave me practice on accepting that I cannot control her world, and that I shouldn't.
... it gave her the right to take what suggestions she enjoys or finds interesting
... it gave me the opportunity to test out how we'll handle undersirable (to us) behaviours
... it showed me just how much I can keep my mouth shut.
... it gave me the chance to remember that my influence is a tiny part of this journey, and that who she is and is meant to be, is about something deeper, more soulful, grander, and more amazing, than specific things I wish and don't wish her to do.

Okay, I got it. That last one rocked me. There I had been thinking I was allowing her to blossom into the person I already believed she is.... so why get hung up on such small details? I don't love her for the details. My job, ultimately, isn't about the details. It's about Love.

If you've done your own Thankful Anyway, go ahead and add your link - directly to the post - to the linky below (not visible in feed reader). Grab the button up the top (right click & Save As) and a link back is always nice.


  1. Holy Crap! I'm thankful I don't have that kind of influence around my son...just yet. How you kept your mouth shut for the better part of the time astounds me. I am, however, getting ready for the following when we head back to Canada for the holidays (though we'll be avoiding a lot of it because we were smart this time and forked out the extra cash for our own place):
    1. Why won't he eat X food?
    2. He can't always eat X food.
    3. He's eating/drinking too much of X.
    4. Why don't you try doing X?
    5. And then there are the inevitable comparisons of him to other children his age, especially where language is concerned.
    It'll be tough as these are all touchy subjects for me. I have a feeling I will have to stand up and say, "Thank you for X advice but I am the Mom." But I think part of the reason you kept a little "mum" is perhaps because you realized your time there was short-lived. I will attempt to keep this in mind as well when I hear undesirable stuffs. "We are only her for 3 weeks. They love him. They can't get enough of him. I will pretend i didn't hear THAT this time".

    Wish me luck!

  2. gave me the chance to remember that my influence is a tiny part of this journey, and that who she is and is meant to be, is about something deeper, more soulful, grander, and more amazing, than specific things I wish and don't wish her to do.

    Love this.

    Timely post as some of us head into holiday visits and "interesting" family interactions. I've missed your Thankful anyway Thursdays...good to have you back.

  3. Did anyone try to give her chewing gum? White refined sugar treats? Ughhh! I had to deal with that and a whole bunch of bizarre behaviour that made me wonder how certain people can keep their own children alive!!!
    Kudos to you for not losing it. And yay for finding the lessons in all of it, being thankful for the experiences, however negative and "urge to smack someone" they were.
    I will never understand why some people feel the need to think they know what's okay for OUR kids.
    Great post, welcome back!

  4. I know, it can be hard dealing with relatives and their "suggestions". But I watch her with relatives and I have to tell myself, "Even if I don't like these people, she is her own person and she has the right to build her own relationships with them". I want to be in control, but, as the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.

  5. I've experienced this, too. (The being thankful part.)
    Trev had an interaction over a year ago with a buddy of dh's and his son, and the buddy is not someone I would want fostering my son, certainly!
    But his little boy - my son's age, said something to him like "Things aren't always going to turn out the way you want them to," or something like it. While they couldn't understand his emotionalism over the disappointment (being of the "suck it up - don't be a crybaby" type), it was interesting to (later, when they came home) see Trev's processing of that info. Very different from the compassionate, trying-to-offer suggestions and coming to a peaceful agreement of our usual friends.
    It made me realize that really, it's his life, and his experiences.
    As much as I think I have a lot to do with it, I don't. Not really.
    oof. :)

  6. Hello, Mon!!

    I am thankful for the journey we're on. For having the guts to go for broke, to lose it all, and still, to come out so much better than before.

    I'm changed, Mon. It wasn't just turning thirty. I feel so much older than two months ago. Journey Wildly is about to undergo some serious renovations.

    So glad to see your words...
    I've missed you, friend.

  7. Well, I appreciate your wisdom on this, but I must admit I'm not quite in the same space myself. I can *see* you are right, and in my own head I say similar things, it just doesn't stop me from getting really pissed off.

  8. Oh that last one was a tough one for me too. I unwittingly entered into motherhood with the (strongly supported by outside voices) idea that my child was an empty vessel and my duty was to fill it properly. blech How many relationships could be saved by realizing most of our children's Being comes pre-wired. We're just conduits for their journey.

    Glad you got it long before I did.

  9. Love this. That last point especially is just wonderfully insightful. Must try to remember that when we go to Ireland soon. I know what they're like.

  10. Fortunately my relatives don't encourage my child to do rude things, but they do do things that bother me. We see my family twice a month and my in-laws at least once a month, but luckily not every day. It's enough that sometimes I feel I must say something, though I make sure never to be angry when I do...

    Even though we can't exactly "mold" our children, we can help them develop themselves into happy, compassionate, and capable people. And that's done through love and modelling good behavior ourselves. I think that as long as we love our children unconditionally, they will look more to our examples than those of others. That's what I tell myself anyway...

    AND, even though we might not like certain outside influences, those people are stimulating our children's brains in new them more opportunity for growth.

    Glad you were able to come to some level of peace on this.

  11. What a wonderful post. And you bring up something that I've never stepped back to be thankful for. But you're right - we should be thankful for moments like these - no matter how infuriating. There are so many lessons wrapped up in it. Thanks for helping me to take a second look at the influences on my children that I may not be thrilled about.

  12. Hey, I put two links up. One is for last week's. I didn't think I was going to write one today, but then I did. So I put that one up, too.

  13. Love it. I think this is the essence of parenthood right here. I think I will be having to learn this lesson over and over. Certainly now I am evaluating weekly it seems how much to step in or comment on the influences my eldest is picking up at school. Sometimes it just feels like too much and I think "that's it, she can't stay in school, I do not want her exposed to this", and then I realize that even keeping her home will only shield her from it for a little longer (I am talking here about things like superheros and disney princesses and commerical things that in general she hadn't had much exposure to before this.) And of course much worse things than this are going to come along.
    I did have to laugh at SwedishJenn's comments on her family - this is my MIL exactly - much converation revolves around what my kids are eating or not eating. They didn't like the stuffing on Thanksgiving and this became a big tadoo. And I just thought 'what the heck - we eat stuffing once a year, why on earth does it matter whether they like it at 5 and 3????' But I did manage to smile and keep my mouth shut:-)

  14. Ah yes, 'tis the not-kill-the-relatives season, had forgotten that. Can't wait to hear all your horror stories - chuckle.

    I ought to add that I'm not letting go completely and not concerning myself over external influences on her, or not attempting to change undesirable behaviours, but rather that I'll not make it a big deal when those influences are there.

    Like I said, love first. I'm with Lisa (edenwild) if we model our preferred behaviour and love unconditionally, then hopefully they'll choose our models of behaviour. But ultimately, it's that, their choice.

  15. Wow. I'm so glad you visited my blog because I am so glad to have discovered yours! I absolutely LOVE the idea of "Thankful Anyway Thursday," and it's the perfect time of year (as is any time, really) to be writing about gratitude.

    It's not easy to focus on the positive when so much tends to be negative, but you're so right that there's so much to learn from the negatives. It's said that you learn a lot more from losing than from winning, and I think the same idea applies here.

    Thank you for such wonderful insight!

  16. I dread seeing my inlaws over the holidays because of all their "not so helpful" suggestions. For almost 13 years, I have been very political about their critiques of my parenting and my kids' sometimes not the best behavior. I like how you take these moments as teaching opportunities. It is a very proactive approach to those kind of situations.


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