It's about relate-ability. My grandma and grandpa took my dad, brother and myself in after my parents divorced until my dad could get on his feet as a single parent. So, in essence, in their late 60's they became parents again while our dad worked crazy hours to establish himself here in Texas.
I can remember some of the crazy things we put them through. My grandma was forever trying to teach me manners and get me to take an interest in little girl things. I was a tom boy and I was very jaded and mature from my childhood, so when I wasn't reading I was outside climbing trees or catching bugs. Well, Grandma went to a garage sale across the street and bought me some Barbies, encouraging me to take an interest in girly toys over catching bugs. I have no idea why I reacted this way, but I grabbed an empty Whitman's Chocolate sampler box, filled it up with hundreds of roly-polies and let them loose in her living room! That was a rare, childish and impulsive moment for me, but I can understand a little better why she'd watch the "Kids Say The Darndest Things" show and laugh--because she saw again first hand how silly and reactive kids can be, and she (and my Grandpa) related to the feeling of trying to be the adult in a humorous situation.
My brother got into all kinds of little boy craziness--urinating outside instead of using the inside toilet (which I'm told by girlfriends with little boys that this is not an uncommon issue for young misters!), rough housing with neighborhood boys, leaving Lego pieces everywhere to be stepped on in the middle of the night, waking up the entire house hold to find his red Power Ranger before bed and so forth. At the time, it was a hassle to clean the mess and find the lost toys--but looking back, it was an honor to be trusted to look for his most prized possessions.
How many times has someone reached out to you, only for you to ignore or belittle them? Do you cultivate your ability to relate to other people? Or are you too busy to stop and open up a little?
My girls, making a huge mess
This morning my daughter had what was a very important conversation to her with me. She was listing everything that she thought she might want for Christmas.
"And a Barbie playhouse, and a Strawberry Shortcake City...and...and..." Her little face scrunched up, then fell apart. "Oh mamma, I was thinking too much and I forgot everything that I wanted."
I smiled. It was 6:45 a.m. and I just wanted to drink my coffee. However, thinking about that "Kids Say The Darndest Things" show, and about how many people need you to just open up and relate to them, I set aside my wants. "Well baby, maybe you should think it over again, but make your list a little smaller, that way you can be more grateful for what you have, and not focus so much on what you want."
She nodded. "OK. I love you mommy, I'll be thankful."
If I allowed myself to be brusque and rude, and consider MY time and MY desires the MOST important thing, I would've missed hearing what my daughter was really saying. Behind her little Christmas list, she was saying, "I need to talk to you. I need your help. I need you to see me being a big girl and thinking this through and to recognize my forethought."
I am so thankful I caught her message and cultivated that moment with her. Life is a series of these little moments, will you be too wrapped up in yourself to see them? Or can you decide to change, to listen to what someone else is saying, what someone else needs from you?