An Unexpected Gift

Posted by Nicki Peasley 1 Comments

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Sitting on opposite sides of the coffee table, piles of folded clean clothes between us, my husband whispered the most profound words to me.

“Everyday, when our kids wake up, they are different…and we get the chance to be better parents than we were the day before.”

It’s been an emotional week for all of us.  A perfect storm of post-holiday exhaustion, colds and tummy bugs, middle school drama, SOL anxiety, homework meltdowns, work stress, and growing pains (for all of us).  With the kids at sleepovers and other events, Mike and I had planned a quiet night to process the week and rest into each other.   

And alas, the Universe had other plans for us.   We all ended up at home on a stormy Friday night, tired and blue.  Mike brought home a pizza (with a peperoni and bacon bonus) and the smiles began to return to my kids’ faces.   And I realized the gift that had been presented to us.  Time.

Sitting at the table, we didn’t have to rush to get to the next activity.  We had all night and I relished the prospect of sharing this gift with the people I love most in the world.

Before the kids dove into their pizza, I stopped them, “Hey, remember that thing called grace that we used to say when we were sane and actually enjoyed our meals together?  Consider it re-instituted.”

And with that, we joined hands, looked into each other’s eyes and said the prayer I hope my children will remember above all others, “May the love in my grateful heart pass from my hand to yours.”

As we devoured the pie, our banter was light and easy, a sharp contrast to a week of intense and often tear-filled conversations about respect, responsibility, choices, and family cooperation.  Tonight we talked about boy bands and birthday parties and the ridiculous antics of our puppy, George.

Then we turned on the music.  We threw the dishes in the sink… and we danced.  We sang like rock stars on the table; we jumped on furniture; and we let our bodies release the stress of the week.  It was bliss.

And when we were breathless and giddy, we came together in a heap on the floor. We made a circle around a candle… and the kids took over.

Rhode rang the singing bowl; Viv asked us how we were showing up (fist to five); Grace announced that she had an activity she wanted us to do together; and Mike and I beamed at each other across the circle of love we had created.

Grace, my teacher (in more ways than one), gave us all a piece of paper and told us to draw a flower.  Then she proceeded to analyze us based on our flowers.  She concluded that the way we drew our flowers illustrated a quality that was trying to emerge in us.  And she was spot on.

“Dad, yours is very abstract.  Your inner artist wants to come out!”

“Rhode, yours is very…uh, unique.  Yes, you are embracing what makes you YOU.”

“Viv, yours is very structured and perfect.  Maybe you want to be more organized.”  

“And mine is really imperfect and all over the place.  Viv, I’d like to be more free like you.  I can help you with organization and you can help me with freedom”

“ Mom, your flower is round… you want to roll better… and flow more.”

Yes I do honey…so I can be totally present for transformative moments like these.

And then Rhode had something he wanted to teach us. 

“This is a poem called Me Stew.  I’m going to rap it.”  And rap it he did—culminating in a loud and dramatic “toot” from his 8 year old bottom.  We all howled and he radiated with pride.

And then Viv had an idea.  She put a piece of paper in the center of the circle. 

“We did this in art.  Everybody gets a marker and we go around the circle 10 times and take turns adding to the picture.  It’s kind of like Ubuntu.  It shows all our uniqueness and it’s one picture that we all make together.”

So we made our Ubuntu picture (see above) and marveled at its craziness. 

“It’s just like us—we’re crazy.”  Said my 13- year-old brilliant psychoanalyst.  And we all agreed. 

By this point, we were exhausted and while I wanted to culminate our circle time with some appreciations, I realized that a snuggle in our bed would be just as, if not more profound.  I was right.

As I listened to the laughter surrounding me, I thought of my husband’s words earlier in the evening.  I realized that sometimes being better parents has nothing to do with our own words and actions and everything to do with allowing our children the TIME to be heard and seen.  It is in that sacred space that we change and grow.

Before I drifted off to sleep, I offered my own simple appreciation… and hoped my family was doing the same. 

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

(and please, when they wake up tomorrow, don’t let them be too different)

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Small Nicki Peasley I am the CEO of my home, managing a team consisting of a 40 year old, an 11 year old, an 8 year old, and a 6 year old. In my spare time, I am the YOUth development director for Bounce, writing curriculums and working (playing and learning) with elementary and middle school youth.

1 Comments

Ann D. said:

Nicki,
I always love how you share your lessons with family with all of us. And I so appreciate how what you are learning for yourself is translated transparently to your family. What a gift to me as both your colleague and your friend.

-Ann

07/21/2013 at 11:08 am

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