Change the story she tells herself

Probably one of the only good things about getting older is that it means that the angst filled years of being a teenager are getting further and further in my rearview mirror. The more I watch my daughter step onto this phase of life the more this is confirmed for me.

We had a minor tragedy at the mall today. She had been gifted a small sum by her nana to purchase whatever she wanted as a back to school treat- she’d be able to buy some earrings or a sparkly headband – or whatever tickled her fancy. However, somehow on the way from the car to the store the money got lost.

Her reaction was heartbreaking. She started beating herself up – saying how stupid she was, how she didn’t deserve the money in the first place, and how it was all her fault.

None of this is true. This girl is amazing, she’s got this amazing pure heart and will go out of her way time and time again to help out others.

But no matter how many times I told her this she wasn’t hearing it. She was playing the soundtrack over and over in her head that was telling her she had no value and that all bad things that happen is her fault. She burst into tears and said what do you expect me to think? I was told this over and over for all of my life until we left and came home. The aftermath of the chaos of her childhood, it’s hard when one of the people who is supposed to protect you tries instead to destroy you.

I tried telling the story of how amazing I think she is in many different ways, but it was making no difference. We drove to the grocery store and I grabbed some things for supper, then we went to Safeway to get one more thing. She was tired and sad and stayed in the car so I was by myself. As I came out there was a young guy sitting by the door, head down, holding a sign that said homeless- please give – anything helps.  I had $3 in my pocket and I walked over and gave it to him.

But, as I got into my car with my crying daughter, a backseat full of groceries, and prepared to head back to the home we love; I thought of two things:

One was how grateful I was that we had a tribe to pick us up and help us out when we were left with nothing.

The other was how weird it felt to drive home with so much food and leave this poor kid sitting outside with nothing.

So, I said to the girl that we were both going to get out of our funk, she was going to see what the real value of money was, and we were going to get him some supper. We went to Good Earth and got him a panini, a fresh cookie, and some iced tea. We went back to Safeway and both got out of the car and walked the supper to him. Jenna commented after Mom, did you see the look on his face? His eyes were so sad at first, then he looked like he couldn’t believe that we were doing that for him. I feel so different, even my tummy feels different. I’m glad we were able to do something nice for him.

And I reminded her that years ago we used to buy gift cards for food for some of the homeless people in Roanoke. I said this is who you are. This is the kind of heart you have. When you’re telling yourself who you are – this is it. You give to people, you help people, and you love people. Even when you feel like you’ve got nothing to give, there’s always some way you can help someone else. 

And she said yes – that’s true.

That is happiness. A deep, make me cry, love her so much, happiness.


His first day

The boy had a surprise early start to his job and began today. He’s so excited and so proud of himself, I love watching him glow with joy. He loves the place, loves the food, and seems to really like his boss – it looks like it is a great work environment, what a fantastic way to start off in the work force.

I am so happy for him, it was great to hear the stories on the ride home about things that happened during his shift. This is happiness.


Mucho Burrito

We have pretty exciting news in our house today. The boy went to drop off a resume at his favourite Mexican place – Mucho Burrito – that opened in town just yesterday. He expected to leave it and hopefully hear from them, but to his delight the owner was there and sat him down for an interview.

It looks like my boy has his first job! And his dream job at that. He is over the moon excited and I couldn’t be happier for him. What a fantastic way this will be for him to spend the summer.

Happiness moment extraordinaire!


Nothing to do

The boy and I spent almost 7 hours in Urgent Care today dealing with his wrist (end result was a cast being put on). 

We had our phones and I had my kindle, but after a couple of hours the batteries died on the phones and since he was bored, reading became impossible for me. 

So, we did the unthinkable in 2016 and we sat and talked. For hours. About things, and about nothing. 

It was wild. Hours of time with my teen. And although he complained about the wait, I don’t think he hated it. 

I think we have forgotten how to just be with each other. There’s always some distraction these days. To take all the distractions away and just spend time with a loved one – that’s a moment of happiness. Try it. 


The stubborn gene

If you know me or my people in real life, then you know that the stubborn gene runs deep in our genes. Sometimes it is a good thing – it has created a group of incredibly strong people – sometimes it is not so good – because…. stubborn – sometimes it is just funny.

Tonight Jenna came home and found the back door locked. She went to the window near where Jacob was sitting and started knocking on it and yelling at him to go open the door. He yelled back that she should go to the front door, which was open, and the same distance for her to walk. She refused, wanting to go in the back door. She continued banging and yelling, he continued yelling and refusing. I sat on the couch laughing my butt off at how incredibly stubborn they both were being. It went on for a good 10 minutes before there was a break.

In an interesting turn of events, Jenna gave up and came in through the front door. Usually in a battle of wills Jacob gives up first, preferring the more passive route. It was hilariously funny and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I had a spontaneous lunch today with a cousin in town. I love that we are back in a place where I run into my tribe on a regular basis. It was lovely to catch up with her and share some laughs. Our bond runs deep, and my lunch time with her was a moment of great happiness.


Who has your back?

The past couple of years I’ve made a very focused effort to surround myself with the kind of people who have my back. I finally realized how important it is to have people in my life who hold me up and make me a better person. Its made me become strong enough to help others and have their backs too. It’s been amazing since I’ve made that my mindset how people who love and support not just me, but the kids as well, have appeared in our lives. 

Jacob has a teacher who is one of these special people. The three of us (with some help from the assistant principal) have been working hard to stop this Caillou name calling, bullying issue at school. Finally it seems we have some resolution. The kid has been moved away from Jacob in class, there has been no more teasing, things are settling down. 

This teacher has really stepped up and it is so impressive how she’s making sure Jacob feels safe and secure at school. I’m so glad she is there and that he was comfortable enough with her to reach out to her for help. 

My happiness moment today was when Jacob jumped into my car with a huge smile on his face. All the way home he chattered happily about his day and the things that happened at school. It’s been a long time since he’s been so carefree and light hearted about school. Warms my heart. 


It’s who you are

I love it when my kids are faced with challenges that give them the opportunity to show who they really are. Both of my kids have a good, strong, honest, solid, character. I’m not just saying this because I wear mom goggles (although I freely admit that I do), but because time and time again when they face obstacles they overcome them with honesty and grace. I’m a better person because they are in my life. 

Jacob had two such opportunities today. He was in a group of boys on Monday who were goofing around in class and were supposed to come in today for lunch detention. Jacob has already told me about it, he knew he shouldn’t have been doing it – but sometimes these things happen and all we can do is go and make it right. 

Jacob and one other boy were the only ones out of the group who showed up today and took their punishment. Because of this, the teacher let them talk quietly and then let them go after lunch. She thanked them for their honesty in showing up. 

I told Jacob how proud I was that he’d gone and taken the punishment. It let the teacher know what kind of person he is. She now  knows that while he is a teen and sometimes gets to talking too much, he’s also honest and reliable. 

His second incident today was with a peer. 

Jacob keeps his hair trimmed very short – he alway has – and it looks good on him. It’s neat, tidy, and easy to care for. Some kid has decided to mock him for this look and call him Caillou (only in Canada would he be teased by being called Caillou). It’s been going on for a little while, and although Jacob generally ignores the kid, it does bother him. 

Today the kid came up and started calling him Caillou again and then started humming  the theme song  – worst song ever for being an ear worm by the way. Jacob said he looked the kid dead on and then started bouncing in time to the music singing Caillou c’est moi, je suis Caillou. He said it shocked the kid so badly he didn’t know what to say and just turned and walked away. 

So proud of him. He was in a situation that could have led to a big confrontation and instead he turned the other cheek. By remaining passive and not playing into the teasing, yet at the same time standing up for himself he diffused the entire situation. 

This is a great example of the character of my kid. This is who he is at the core of his being and I couldn’t be prouder that when it matters these are the character traits he draws from. 

Today my happiness moment is being shown what a kind, honest, respectful, happy kid I have. I’m lucky to have him  call me mom.