This week my kids began the fourth and first grades. It’s cliché, but true: they grow up so fast! I’ve was home with them for several days before they went back, getting ready for the school routine to start up again.
Last week, I found myself struggling, specifically with Teo’s rejection of every healthy meal I placed in front of him. I’d been trying to get them to embrace the whole foods diet that I follow. Teo isn’t particularly picky, but he’s accustomed to the foods he typically eats and isn’t big on change.
At the YMCA pool on Thursday afternoon, I could feel myself struggling with wanting to control his diet and feeling so frustrated that he wouldn’t even try these new foods. The thoughts running through my mind we’re variations of “How do I make him try these foods?!” I told Sienna what I was feeling: “I need to let it go, don’t I?”
“Yeah, I think you do, Mom,” she lovingly replied.
Sometimes I can literally feel myself accepting reality and surrendering my illusion of control. It usually sounds like a deep, cleansing exhale from deep in my body. I imagine my “struggle switch” literally switching off.
The next few days, I felt so much more present and connected to the moment. Soaking in my children and this particular phase of life felt joyous. They are at a very fun stage of being more self-reliant and therefore “easier” but also very interested in mom and dad’s attention and praise. I hear “Mom, mom, I need you!” dozens of times per day. But now, instead of needing me to do something for them, they’re asking to talk or show me something they’ve accomplished. They’re growing and conquering fears on a daily basis, and it’s so much fun to witness.
When I let go of a need to control, it instantly lifts a veil over my eyes and helps me to see my loved ones more clearly. I see that they are their own person with tastes, interests, talents, fears, and perspectives that are different from my own. I see that they are imperfect and growing. They’re God’s little children that have been placed in my care to nurture, teach, support, and love.
With some patience and understanding, a situation that I found frustrating or aggravating can be transformed into one of growth and learning. For both of us.