by Lynntia Kir-Stimon Sutton
Hard, stick-in-your throat dry. Plain and not too exciting. Sometimes our lives are just like that. Flat. Thin. Saltine crackers.
As I walked today, the beach offered me a lovely gift. Amid favorite natural elements, my mosaic of sand, stone and pebble, one small rainbow paper heart washed ashore. This bright colorful icon appeared for me when I was immersed in sorting out a concern, and it allowed me to pause.
A breath. A view outside of myself with opportunity to reflect on what today offered. A realization that on this particular morning, I could not fix my issue. I could barely identify the elements of this issue! It was time, instead, to let go of my intent and find a way to change focus. As I saw colors, and fun, and love in this unusual little heart gift, I was able to let go of my determined thought process and in that instant, just be present in the moment.
We all need to find ways to shift gears in our lives. Within our diverse community we often experience deeper layers of complexity. Those with parenting challenges may feel in a constant uphill battle, trying to sustain momentum when they are worn thin and exhausted. And then, as if that isn’t enough, there it is again - Summer.
Long, long summer. Hopefully a break from school and work, and a time filled with pleasure and creating wonderful vacation memories. But for many of us, this can be a period filled with more than the usual complications. These may include medical procedures or evaluations, pending school changes, excursions to experience the native culture of our partner or child, single parenting logistics, travel concerns, and much more. Some of our kids, still working to gain the maturity to step out of pretty firmly fixed mindsets, are faced with needing to make pliable adjustments over many, many weeks…
Even those who are able to experience summer as a time of fun and adventure, may reach that time of - Just Done! Of being more than ready for summer to end. Enough of the bee stings/mosquito bites, sunblock/sunburn, packing/unpacking, visitors, school lists, supplies, clothes needs, and oh the transitions. Way too many transitions. For many, the daunting task of child supervision for multiple long, unstructured days has taken its toll. All ways around, it can be exhausting and monotonous for kids, parents, and families.
How do we make the best of difficult situations? As the long summer draws to an end, and throughout the year, how do we find a way to make life more palatable?
A little sweet, a little jelly. A brief hug or a song. A walk in nature to find a special rock. A “re-start” button for ourselves. The offer of a “re-do” or a “re-mix” for our kids, or whatever we call our personal method to enable a momentary shift.
Finding faith and hope (and happy) during disruptive or dull times is not always easy. So sometimes, when our intended direction doesn’t work, we just need to pick one tiny new direction to allow for movement of some kind to occur. This is often just a small tilt or altered view to make things work in the moment instead of attempting to figure it all out or make it all better. Sometimes it’s enough. Sometimes it’s just all we can do. A chance to make it very, very simple for now… and to find a way to sweeten those dry, flat, soda cracker days.