Monday, March 16, 2015

Breaking Through the Negativity

Dear Em,
The last couple weeks have been tough...really, really tough. There was a lot of snow.

There was a lot of sickness. You were hit with a cruel double whammy of germs, starting with a stomach bug & then, almost immediately afterwards, strep.

We tried to make the best of Daddy's birthday week, but none of us were feeling very festive (in fact, you were sobbing as we made Daddy's birthday cake). Our fun & amazing daughter had turned into a moody, purple minion. Everything with you had become a battle, & I'm not proud of the ways that I reacted.

I'm going to blame it all on winter. Winter totally won. I raised our white flag.

I sobbed on the phone with your Nonnie. I couldn't help but feel like I wasn't anything more than an utter failure. I was surely failing you. I didn't know what to do, but what we were doing was not working in our home. When you think of our home, I want you to think of love above everything else. Instead, there had been a lot of yelling & defiance & tantrums & snippy comments & emotional breakdowns. You & I have had frequent battles of wills...except no one was winning. We had been focusing on the negatives for so long that I was having a hard time finding any positives.

Daddy & I talked about how things had been going. We weren't really sure what we needed to do about it (are any parents ever sure?), but we did know that if we expected you to be better, it needed to start with Daddy & I being better. We needed to change our own attitudes, & we needed to turn our focus back on the positives. We needed to put down our phones & turn off the TV & make family time a bigger priority. We needed to give you more positive encouragement, but we also needed to stop letting bad attitudes & frequent whining slide.

So, we spent this weekend as a family. We had a lot, A LOT, of talks about how to be good to each other & to our teachers & our friends. We reset boundaries & we recreated rewards. We reevaluated the way we talk & interact with each other. I wouldn't say after one weekend everything is sunshine & rainbows, but we're working on it. We're not giving up on each other, & I think that is what is important.

Of course it helps that the sun came out this weekend. The forecast predicted rain all weekend, & I was surprised when I saw bright rays of sunshine filling our backyard. We decided to bundle up & take an impromptu trip to the Charlestown Beach. My heart filled with so much happiness as we walked onto the beach together. The sun was doing it's best to break through the clouds, creating the most brilliant colors in the big ocean waves. It reminded me of our little family of three & the way we're doing our best to break through the negativity & find beauty in each other again.

You ran, filled with joy. "There's no snow on this beach! There's no snow!" We walked down the beach, collecting rocks & shells.

You & I felt brave with our rain boots on. We ran towards the ocean to splash our feet at the edges of the water.

A huge wave crashed on the beach & sent water over the protection of our rain boots & soaked our feet. It was freezing, & on a day last week it would have brought you to tears...ending our adventure. I watched you quiver, on the verge of crying, but then remember all of the things we had talked about this weekend. I watched you decide not to fall apart.

Hand in hand we ran back to the car, took off your rain boots, & turned on the heat. Unwilling to let our adventure end so quickly, we decided to head to George's for clamcakes & chowder. We had to take your wet socks off, & I was proud of you for walking happily into the restaurant with bare feet in your rain boots.

We ate clamcakes & chowder & played tic-tac-toe over & over again. You were an excellent sport, happy to celebrate whoever won each round.

We peeked at the beach as we were leaving George's, & Daddy noticed that the Block Island Ferry was coming in just past the jetty. We climbed the rocks of the jetty a little ways before picking a spot to sit & wait for the Block Island Ferry to pass by, just like Daddy did with his family when he was younger. We waved to the ferry as it passed us by, & you were thrilled to receive a wave from a ferry boat passenger in return.

We headed home after that, content with our impromptu adventure. My heart was so full knowing that even though there may be times that we lose ourselves, together we can always find our way back. Thanks for sticking by Daddy & I & helping us to find our way back. Thanks for loving us, even with all of our parenting imperfections. Thanks for helping us to fill our home with love & beauty. Thanks for choosing to break through the negativity with us.

I love you so,

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