A couple of mornings a week, I work out at a small gym across the street from Dido's school. Today, sweaty and rank (as I am after every workout--but that's a good thing, right?) I decided to pop across the street to a cool outlet store (in the same complex as the school) to get some new sheets for our guest room-to-be (B took the real guest room, but we have a spare room on the floor with our family bedrooms that is now going to be for guests. They now have to share a bathroom with our kids, but I'm not feeling sorry for us or them, because, let's face it, we're all living very comfortably. I digress....)
As I pulled out of the parking lot, I had to drive by the front of school. Today is Picture Day. In its honor, Dido pulled out all the stops this morning: collared shirt, beautiful green crew neck sweater (hey, folks, it's chilly here now!) and even let me comb and glue down with gel his (two) cowlicks. He couldn't have looked more handsome. So as I drove through the parking lot, I glanced to my right towards the school. Picture Day was in full swing, and who was perched on the stool in front of the gorgeous, still blooming zinnias, but my boy, grinning ear to ear, looking so big and happy and proud. He didn't notice me as I drove by; he was laughing about something with the photographer, totally engaged in his own joyful world.
Last night, I was beating myself up for not being as good as I'd like to be at all these tasks I've taken on--especially the parenting ones. Seeing him like that, unexpectedly, gave me so much joy, and made me think about what I want him to be and to have in his life. And here's what I came up with (and thanks to my old friend Gretchen over at The Happiness Project for helping me clarify these....since finding the site, I've been thinking a lot about what she calls the Commandments for being happy...)
1. Be yourself.
2. Be kind.
3. Keep learning.
4 (Hopefully as a result of the above) Be happy.
The trick for me is to not let my frustration, aggravation, insecurity and fear get in the way of my kids achieving the above. Today was a great reminder that the most important thing I need to do every minute I am with my kids is to allow myself to really, really feel and express all the love I have for them, which, as I tell them constantly, is bigger than the sky and the stars and all the planets.