Saturday, December 20, 2014

Are you choosing kindness?

15 days loom in front of me.
15 days of holiday splendor and family togetherness.

This morning we have rung in this 'festivus of fun' with tantrums, orchestrated fights, screaming, and a plethora of door slamming. Fa-la-la-la-, la-la-la-la.
Here we go...

It's a lot.
It's a lot to expect children with trauma backgrounds, and spectrum autisim to cope with a 2 week 'vacation' void of their norm, daily structure with added twinkly lights and anxiety driven entitlement, and very little availability for therapies and here you have a poo storm a-brewing.

I get jealous of neuro-typical familes, where a movie night might consist of some pop-corn,blankets, fire in the fire place and : enter scene.
Sure kids might argue about movie title choice and who gets to sit where...thats expected....there may even be a “ so-and-so got more pop corn than me.”
I miss that, sometimes our movie nights do and can look like this.

These days the “Movie” is chosen before the night is planned...its a take it or leave it kinda thing, “sure sweetie you can stomp your feet that we are watching “A Christmas Story” but I guess what you get to choose in this moment is whether you want to be mad about the movie choice and sit down here and eat your popcorn, or go upstairs and read in your room, your choice baby cakes.”

“Oh, you don't want your brother touching your blanket? Awesome, could you have said that without throwing your shoes at him. Lets pause the movie and figure out a repair....and get the blood out of the carpet. “

I am not seeking peace this Holiday season. With 10 people shut in a little house, while it rains outside, I have very little expectations than a couple moments of quiet and some alone time hiding in my closet eating chocolate.
By the handful.

I am seeking kindness.
I am going to be the ambassador of kindness.
At least 13 times since school released my fanged cherubs from the bond of the educational system yesterday, I have asked and prompted all, but specifically one child on this one thing.
In the moments they become revved up, over all the fry sauce being gone, me asking them to sit at the table , and not stand in the middle of the kitchen glaring at me, to go put pajamas on, “Oh silly duck, is that frilly church dress the new style of pajamas?”
Maybe to brush their teeth with toothpaste this time. “No I don't think they were tying to make you mad by giving you the yellow bowl, I don't think they know you wanted the pink one , because you didn't use your words, and we all forgot to put our special mind reading socks on today...I think mine are in the wash, again.”

“Baby, in this moment, is being angry(sad, mad, depressed controlling),and looking for a fight bigger and more important to you, than having a good time and enjoying the time you have with your family?”

"Take a minute. Decide what you want most in this moment and get back to me.
Sure, blink the lights off and on and stomp up the stairs while you decide, EXELLENT idea!"
Once you are calm, can you choose kindness?”

When words get harsh, or more adult than I prefer.
“Are we choosing kindness with our words?”

Yes, why yes, if you are wondering if I have gotten the response “F#%# KINDNESS” from one of my children, why yes, yes I have.
Its adorable.
But I still go back to it, for them and for me.

In the moment.
When there is a cross-road.
When one reaction can manifest the outcome for the next hour.
I am helping them recognize just that. Can I look at this situation, realize what I really want from it, and choose the kind reaction. Can kindness be selfish? Sure, at first, but it has this wicked way of flipping it and allowing it not only to be self serving, but selfless.
Sneaky kindness.

Up until Christmas, I am rewarding my kids with special treats for accomplishing their secret elves duty. We don't have a sneaky elf on a shelf lurking around our house. Why would I need a fictional imaginary elf that gets into random Shtuff around my house? That service is provided for free.
What we do, do , is have an assigned person we preform secret random acts of kindness for.
Its a chance to be sneaky in a very good way. Some kids need a little more help than others, but I am truly touched by the gifts and smiles we are seeing as we continue to give this practice a go for the 5th year in a row.

This being the first year 90% of my children were enrolled in school, to watch them excitedly give their teachers the gifts we had prepared for them, it was a one of the first times I could again talk abut the joy of giving vs. receiving and actually have a full car of understanding head bobs.

Kindness doesn’t have to come from a fully healed heart. It has healing properties of its own.

And importantly.
My need for kindness to myself.
This year my little local Farmers Market booth has exploded to a small online business and has me spread in a very good way, thinner than I am used to.
These next 15 days I am beginning my own radical practice of self kindness.

30 minutes of exercise daily, reading 30 minutes by the fire, eating healthy amongst the handfuls of chocolate, 30 minutes meditation. Forgiving myself completely when I loose my patience and mess up completely....and don't choose kindness in the moment because in that moment I wanted to be frustrated and mad, or angry and loose my SHHHTUFF, for a bit.
Being kind to me...because this whole dang practice has to be modeled...and it sure isn't easy.

Merry Christmas dear ones....even to your Angry elves.
And if peace is waning a little bit this holiday season, lean into kindness...lean in deep.