Remember when I started all this gratitude/praise business and I said I knew there would be days when I wasn’t going to be feeling very grateful? Well here I am. Today, I'm not feeling very grateful. Today I’d really rather rant about all the crappy things that got to me, especially about the stupid meltdown tantrums Jake and I had because we were both tired and because I personally, even though it is only April and I’ve been longing for warm weather all winter and it’s finally here and it's been sunny and beautiful and not even 20 frickin’ degrees, found the heat a bit too much today. So, I’m feeling just a little pathetic. How the hell am I gonna cope with summer when I can’t even deal with spring??
And as to writing stones, sure I have a nice one, a pretty poetic one, but the moment where I felt most painfully awake today was when I was trying to lie down and Jake was screaming his head off because he didn’t want me to. Just before, he’d been in a tizzy where one minute he wanted to go out and the next he didn’t. One minute he screamed at me to close the front door and then he screamed at me when I did. I told him if he didn’t stop screaming, I would go upstairs. He didn't stop. I could feel myself getting worked up and needed to leave the room, so I went upstairs and tried to lie down and he followed me, wailing. When he found me on the bed with my glasses off, he came in and tried to make me put my glasses back on and I was holding his arms and trying to stop him because he kept jabbing them into my eyes and then, when he saw that I’d closed my eyes, I could feel his fingers on my eyeballs, trying to prise open my lids. And then he screamed at me to sit up, and went and sat where I’d been lying and pushed his feet against my back and kicked me and every time I turned around, he shouted and pushed at my back or my face to turn back again, shouting at me to not look at him. Then he threw my glasses at my back and some sharp bit jabbed me and I turned around and slapped him on his leg and he cried even louder and said, “Don’t hit me, don’t hit Jake!” and I felt like such a complete shit because it’s the one thing I’ve never done, have vowed never to do and there I was, being a complete hypocrite.
I’ve been reading a lot about mindfulness and meditation practices in Buddhism and in that moment, I could hear a voice saying, “Try to be mindful about whatever you’re feeling” and I could hear myself arguing back, “I don’t want to be mindful, I want to punish myself because that’s what I deserve.” “How will that help?” was the answer I got. I didn’t have a response to that. So Jake and I sat in silence and then I apologised to him and as always, whenever I say sorry to him for shouting, sorry to him for being mean, he holds out his arms and asks for a cuddle. I’d like to tell you that was the end of it, but neither one of us had had the nap we needed, so more grumpiness and shouting ensued, and then later, the smearing of yoghurt on my face and a fracas involving a roaring dinosaur head with snapping teeth. But no more hitting.
So now that I’ve ranted, do I try squeezing something to praise about, out of my day? Yes, the voice says. And make it 15 squeezes rather than your usual 10.
It has been positive you know, taking the time each day to sit and think about what I have received, what I have. It’s made life feel richer, and has made me happier – not dwelling so much on negatives. That’s not to say that I don’t ever feel anything bad anymore (obviously) – that would be ridiculous, but lately, I haven’t felt overshadowed by those feelings, they’ve been given perspective and for that well, I’ve been very grateful. I am grateful. So, here are the things I’ve appreciated / praised / feel happy for today…
A blossoming rosemary bush ~
Scrambled eggs with baby plum tomatoes and feta cheese ~
The fact that they sell gourmet jelly beans in Holland & Barrett ~
The sight of Jake laughing when I went to pick him up at nursery, even though he wasn’t with his key worker (whom he adores) but someone new, doing their placement ~
Getting to share Jake’s Calippo with him (eating what he left while pushing him on the swings) ~
The sunshine – even if it made me feel pathetic when I went out in it ~
Horse chestnut blossoms ~
Jake always forgiving me when I say sorry and having a cuddle ~
Jake singing, “I’ve got the choi choi choi choi down in my fart, down in my fart, down in my fart…” (original version is joy, heart) ~
The lovely man in the Londis who always gives Jake presents – today there was the snapping dinosaur head, and instead of his usual quiet shyness, Jake had a little chat with him about it. (I feel the need to point out that it is the man behind the counter, who keeps freebies aside for the little kids who come in with their parents, not just some random bloke hanging around giving presents to children on the sly) ~
Longer days (last night, I looked out the window at 7:38pm and it wasn’t dark yet!) ~
My sun hat ~
Getting ideas for stories while riding the red elephant in the playground ~
John Siddique’s poem Born Here ~
After the afternoon we’ve had, and after writing all the above, rolling around on the floor with Jake, being a crocodile eating him up, stuffing snow foam down each other’s tops, loud, unabashed belly laughter ~