I owe Mother Nature a gift basket and a thank you note.
Many folks are lamenting yet another soggy series of days that have us in boots and long pants. “It’s spring,” is the constant refrain. “It’s May!” is another. “Where’s the sun?!” Trust me, it’s coming.
In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this rain. The rain cleared the pollen and it cleared my schedule. I was planning on doing a number of thing outdoors today and once the sky started leaking, I said, “Yessssssss!” The rare chance to clear my schedule of the “have-to’s” in order work on the “want-to’s” presented itself. I threw my arms and legs around it and held on for dear life.
First things first. With the outdoor stuff tabled for another day, the logical choice would be to move onto the indoor stuff. The laundry, the dishes, the trashes? All of that can wait.
I grabbed my coffee, the mug stained with rings of various levels from the number of times I’ve poured out, refilled, and reheated cup after cup. Next, I collected my tools: notebooks, pencil box, journal, planner, and laptop. That simple act got the creative pilot light lit, sparking my brain into a explosions of thought.
Oh, you should work on that blog post from three months ago.
Remember Black and White Wednesday? That was fun.
Where’s your camera?
Oh, wait! You need to do work on V’s birthday collage.
That’s gotta be done by the 18th.
Then you can tackle the end of year teacher gifts for the preschool for the 25th.
Did you even pick an end of year teacher gift for the preschool?
Well, if you’re going on Pinterest anyway, it would be a waste not to look at 10 ways to create a capsule wardrobe, right?
The temptation to be captain of Team Do the Most was so great. I mean, my mama didn’t raise no quitter. BUT, I had to focus because I did not want to be doing the most only to realize I didn’t really do anything by the time carpool pick up rolled around. So, I reheated my coffee (again) and made a decision. Today, I’m writing.
Puberty is attacking M like a rash that flares up every time you think you’ve got the symptoms under control. Our relationship as of late has seen more ups and downs than Oprah’s weight. Remember when your kids were toddlers and it was like living with a small, foreigner who didn’t know English? The tweenage years are like living a larger foreigner who knows English, but refuses to speak it, preferring to either screech injustices or demand that you read their mind.
There wasn’t a chapter about this in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Believe me, I’ve looked.
Blessedly, I’ve got wonderful sister-friends who are mothers and are willing to share the tools in their toolbox. Enter the Just Between Us Journal.
This gem of a journal is a way for mothers and daughters to communicate that takes some of the angst and embarrassment out of face to face interactions. The concept is simple: mother and daughter write honestly and openly in the journal using idea prompts or free spaces. They exchange the journal on a mutually agreed upon day or period of time. What goes in the journal stays in the journal, so no, I don’t share with the Hubs whatever it is M has written (unless it’s harmful to her or her family) and she doesn’t share what I’ve written to her (i.e. yes, M, you really are my favorite) with her sisters or friends.
We’ve been exchanging the journal for about two weeks now and while we’re still figuring out the routine, I’m feeling better about our interactions.
Rather than waiting until bedtime when I’m running on fumes to ask me, “What’s a hymen and why do a I have one?” (#truestory) or “Who was your first crush when you were in the sixth grade?” (Eric Hazelcorn), M downloads into the journal on her own time and then leaves it on my bed. I then read her entries, whether it’s a page with prompts about firsts (first time I was home alone with infant M, thoughts on her first day of school) or a free space where she’s written freely, and respond.
When we are in the eye of the storm (after school, dinner, practice, etc.) and she is trying to express herself, it’s hard for me to give her the time and attention she needs right at that moment. Chances are my responses are going to be clipped and
tinged colored with impatience. Okay, not chances are. My responses are clipped and colored with impatience. Okay, not clipped but bitten off and not colored but smeared with impatience.
This journal, though. I have been given the gift of time because I can think, process, re-read what she has written, before responding calmly and thoughtfully. This has been the biggest gift. I’m confident that with continued practice, I will able to transition that skill into real life. In the process, we get to learn more about one another and manage these pubescent flare ups with more grace and patience, together.
And bonus! I get to write.
Soon, I’ll be complaining about the multiple days of rain just like everyone else, but for now, I’m going to enjoy the pattering of droplets on the windows. I’ll reheat my coffee (again). I’ll read what is going on in the mind of my middle schooler. I’ll sharpen my pencils and let her know that it’s rain that makes the flowers grow.
featured image courtesy of 6iee.com
Also published on Medium.