The Earth is ready for Spring – or at least the clocks are. The USA recently marked the 1st of its two Daylight Savings Time (DST) occurrences. Each year, in an effort to get people to use less energy, the clocks ‘spring’ forward thereby helping us to take advantage of the longer and later daylight hours during April and May.
I know this time change is observed in many parts of the world at different times of the year according to where you live, but for me this ‘springing forward’ business just simply means that I lose one more precious hour of sleep and I am a bit more confused about what time it actually is for a day or two! Funny how I don’t have the same perspective when Daylight Savings Time rolls around again in November and I get to ‘fall’ back (i.e. sleep for 1 more hour and surprisingly have zero confusion about the time:-). I guess we all can be a bit fickle at times (ha).
The approaching Spring and all that comes with it, prompted me to start thinking about this idea of springing forward and, as usual, how it can be applicable to us as parents, especially being special parents of special kids. In thinking a bit on this idea, it amused me that a spring is shaped like a coil; a spiral full of twists, curls and loops while springing forward conjures up images of jumping, bouncing, skipping, etc.
I wondered, how can we move, let alone jump, forward with anything in our lives, when so often we feel just like a spring; a coil – experiencing so many twists and turns on a daily basis – that we can’t even think straight at times?
Hmmm…. I think at least part of the answer may just lie in the ‘bends and twists’ of our lives. I’m reminded of the high-speed train, the Eurostar in Europe, which decreased its journey time from London to Paris by approximately 30 minutes, partly due to the implementation of new ‘bendy’ tracks. As special parents, our lives are the epitome of ‘bendy tracks’ and are full of a whole range of twists and turns. And although these twists are challenging and more often than not, very frustrating at times, they also tend to comprise the very things needed for us to spring forward.
This month, I would like to share three (3) things for you to consider that hopefully will help you to spring forward, not just during Daylight Savings Time, but always:
1) Flow with the bends – don’t fight them as resistance to things always makes the process harder. As parents, we know that the more we tell our kids no or not to do something, the more they will try to do the very thing we told them not to do. They are resisting what is good for them – and we do the same when we resist the twists and bends that occur in our own lives. For some of us, this ‘flowing with the bends’, has a lot to do with acceptance. Our acceptance of our child(ren) for who they are and what they have – and acceptance of ourselves for being the best parents we can be with the resources we have. I will never forget a mother I had the honor of spending some time with, whose baby daughter had severe cerebral palsy (CP) and other neurological and physical impairments due in large part to the negligence of the hospital staff where she was born. It was politely suggested several times to this mum to just let her daughter go (translation: let her die) as the doctors felt that she would never have any kind of quality of life. She vehemently refused and I remember her saying, “If my daughter never knows anything else, she will know that she is loved.” This mother decided to flow with the bends that were now a real part of her life which in turn…. allowed her to love and embrace her daughter from the infinite depths of her heart.
2) Face the Bends Head-On – People say that a roller coaster is not nearly as scary when your eyes are open (not sure I believe them) but I think I get the idea. If you can see or face the very thing that you are afraid of head-on, somehow it is not as scary as how you initially thought it would be. Jeffrey Hull, PhD said, and I am paraphrasing a bit here – that ‘fear is not as scary when you know what it is, when you can name it, because then it loses its power.’ This makes more sense to me when I think back to when I was a little girl and was convinced that monsters were in my closet. I would cover my head with the sheet so they couldn’t get me but I remember one night getting up enough courage to face these ‘monsters’ – where this courage came from I don’t know but it was probably due to me being delirious from lack of sleep because the ‘monsters’ were keeping me awake. Anyway, I opened the closet door to tell these ‘monsters’ to leave me alone and to my horror and embarrassment, they were not there – only my clothes. All this time, I had been afraid of clothes? Only I had convinced myself that these were monsters. What are you afraid of? What are your real and/or imagined ‘monsters’? Guilt, anxiety, feeling less of a parent or feeling like you are at the end of your rope? Whatever your monsters are, open the closet door, expose them for what they are and face them head-on. In turn, their grip on you will lessen.
3) Bounce with the Bends – Use the twists and turns in your life as the energy you need to propel yourself forward. Bounce high and long and with regular frequency. In no way, shape or form were we expecting Alejandro’s extremely early birth and all that came with it but it was this twist in my life that now provides the energy, inspiration and drive (i.e. my bounce) that I need to accomplish the very thing I do now….helping other special parents. Another bounce for many parents, especially when dealing with ongoing medical and educational challenges for their child, is finding a a voice that they didn’t know they had…..and using this voice to advocate for their child. Find your bounce, however it manifests itself and use it as the fuel you will need to handle all of the daily ‘bends’ in your life.
So, from now on, I encourage you to spring forward with all of your might. Flow, face and bounce with the twists and turns that come your way – and use them as ‘springboards’ for your life. Believe in yourself as a person and as a parent and let there be no limits to how high you ‘spring forward’ – nor any hesitation as to whether you will ‘spring forward’. You will!
‘Speak’ to you next month!
Become A Newsletter Member
… and receive monthly articles and tips to help you on your parenting journey when you are feeling overwhelmed and a bit frazzled. Just Add Your Details Below:
Parent Coaching Tips : Families Blossoming Newsletter for Parents of Premature Babies