Today I found myself texting a friend and telling her I was livid.
And I found myself getting really worked up over this thing that, in the big picture, was not a big deal at all.
It was an inconvenience, and it was annoying, but ultimately, it’s irrelevant.
A year from now, it won’t make a difference one way or another.
But my reaction to this annoyance was more in tune with it being a determining factor in the overall quality, future, and success of my life and my children’s lives.
It’s really insignificant when I think about it.
And I think that so often we get fired up over these things that are not life-altering, and then we react in a way that maybe isn’t teaching our kids how to handle the bumps in the road that life so often throws at us in an effective way.
Shit happens and sometimes people are assholes.
We can focus on that, let it eat away at us, and let it affect how we interact with our families.
Or we could use it as an opportunity to model some healthier reactions and to teach our kids how to roll with the punches without feeling the need to start wildly swinging themselves.
I mean, being a parent is the ultimate example of life never quite going as planned.
How many times have you been about to walk out the door and finally be on time for something and then your kid tells you she has to go poo?
How many times have you made plans to actually do something for yourself and then your kid wakes up with a 103° fever and you have to cancel everything you had planned on doing?
How many times have you signed your kid up to do something being 100% positive she was absolutely going to love it only to have her bawl her brains out, cling onto your leg or your neck for dear life, and refuse to participate?
Parenting is full of those kinds of moments.
So is life.
And I really want to spend less time stewing over things that, in the big picture, are inconsequential.
Does it matter if my kids miss a swim practice or a baseball practice that I have, for whatever reason, deemed imperative for them to attend? Or even two or three practices?
I’m pretty sure my kids will still meet their athletic potential ten years from now.
Those one or two practices don’t matter.
What matters is that they know how to roll with the punches. That they can handle an unexpected plot twist with a level head rather than having it throw them into a complete tailspin.
Does it matter if my kids decide to write their names on every single wall in the house?
Nah. I mean sure, it’s annoying, but to be honest, I kind of like walking past Number 7’s room and seeing her name written in the hallway outside her room in her preschool handwriting.
It’s cute. And it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that she has a roof over her head.
Does it matter if Number 6 lost the brand new sunglasses he just got yesterday?
As I was walking around searching for them I thought it did.
But it doesn’t.
Yeah, that’s annoying, too.
But he’s not going to go blind without them, and maybe the fact that he lost them less than twenty-four hours after he got them will help to teach him to keep better track of his stuff.
A year from now will it matter that Number 6 won’t let me pull the damn tooth that is hanging on by a thread out of his mouth?
No. It’s not in my mouth, so what the hell do I care?
A year from now I’m pretty sure it won’t be in his mouth anymore.
What matters is that I let him deal with that in his own time. Or until he swallows it.
Does it matter that my kid goes to a birthday party for a friend but won’t leave my side the entire time?
He’s not going to be living in my basement when he’s fifty years old.
What matters is that I keep things in perspective. Eventually he’ll have the confidence to venture off on his own.
Does it matter that someone I don’t know all that well is talking trash about me to other people?
What matters is that the people who me know me know the truth and would never believe a word of it.
What matters even more is that I know the truth.
Does it matter that I asked my husband to help the kids pack up their stuff to go to the pool and instead of packing a towel for one of them he gave them a bathmat to dry off with?
What matters is that my husband willingly helps out with the kids and that he knows I really appreciate it when he does.
Does it matter that Number 7 has been wearing the exact same outfit for the last six days?
What matters is that she’s clothed, that she loves what she’s wearing, and that she’s got enough confidence to not give a flying fuck what anyone else thinks.
Why is it so easy to forget what really matters?
Today we had tornado warnings here in CT, and it kind of put things into perspective for me.
I’ve got my house, I’ve got my health, I’ve got a husband who is willing to stick it out with me, incredibly supportive parents, good friends, and a bunch of beautiful, healthy, intelligent and super talented kids.
I’ve really got nothing to complain about.
And maybe if I want my kids to stop complaining about things that are really pretty ridiculous, I should probably stop doing it myself.