I'm up early, before sunrise. Happily so, for the first time in a couple of weeks. I love this time, when the horizon is turning that one-shade-lighter blue, when I know that daybreak is just a few moments away. I've always loved this time of day, even when I was a kid. I remember when I was in 6th grade deciding to take a walk one August early morning, feeling so peaceful and content. Then walking into my house an hour later, to find my out-of-her-mind mother somewhere between wanting to kiss my feet and crack my head open. Needless to say, the entire family's early-summer-day-sunrise reverie was ruined. Who knew you shouldn't just go for pre-sunrise walks without leaving a note?
I was sitting here thinking about sunrises and new beginnings. Whenever Bambina throws a tantrum or does something inappropriate that requires the removal of a toy or treat, I always take it away for a short time and then ask her, "Do you want to try again?" She invariably says yes and invariably does it right/without whining/without drama/whatever. I love those moments because they give her--and me--the opportunity to Try Again. They give her the sense that her actions have consequences, but that there is always a chance to do it right next time. I want her to have that sense of efficacy (that she can make things right), and I want her to know that her mama will always be here for second chances. What I love most about our Try Agains is seeing the pride she takes in doing it right, in being a big girl, in having learned something from all the tears and drama. Those moments are the little things that make parenting so rewarding and such a joy; seeing your child figure it out, making the connection between actions and consequences, learning how to behave in the world. It almost makes all the screaming and "No no no no, Mama!!!" worth it...
(There are obviously those things in life that have to be done right the first time, without fail and without excuse. Those are the things for which I do not offer a Try Again, such as hitting or hurting someone, because I want her to feel the burn she ought to feel when she hurts someone else.) But for now, for most of life's events, I want her know that she always has the power to Try Again.
Same for me. I think I love sunrise because it is God's every-24-hour New Beginning. Every day, we get to Try Again, and I love that. Some sunrises are harder to face than others, to be sure. But there is something about knowing that today is my chance to do it right that starts my day off right.
Today I am going to hug my mom for more than 4 seconds. I see her a lot, but it's always on my way out or in or through, so I don't always sit down and spend some time with her in a real way. I'm going to finally return all the calls and emails from everyone during my most recent hiatus in the hospital. I'm going to spend some time reading all the blogs I've missed over the past couple of weeks. I need to reconnect with the humor and insight that I've been missing from my blogger friends (who have been kind enough to keep visiting me regardless of how much I have not been giving in return). I'm going to start bedtime rituals a little earlier for Bambina. She doesn't get cranky when she's tired; she gets punchy, so bedtimes can be difficult (brush our teeth, do peepees, put on our jammies) simply because I am hitting my most tired point of the day just as she has become a pinball machine. I look back at my frustration with bedtimes and know that any issue with that otherwise sweet time is mine; that if I'm too tired to deal with her 100-mile-a-minute ramp-up to her bedtime crash then I need to start it sooner so that the timing of the "come here and brush your teeth!" stuff isn't hitting just as she's cleared herself for takeoff. Today I'm going to see that the Try Again for bedtime is mine, not hers.
Aha! Here comes the sun as I write this.
Whenever it is that you're reading this, consider seeing today as your chance to Try Again. Pick something you messed up, feel bad about, ought to feel bad about, figured you couldn't do over, wish you'd said differently. Then Try Again. I'm betting you'll be surprised by how well it goes.
“All you umpires, back to the bleachers. Referees, hit the showers. It’s my game. I pitch, I hit, I catch. I run the bases. At sunset, I’ve won or lost. At sunrise, I’m out again, giving it the old try.”--Ray Bradbury