They Will Remember How I Made Them Feel.

Empowered.  Capable.  Loved.  Worthy. 
A note to myself as I embark on being a mom to a 4th and 5th grader.  Holy cow. 

"At the end of they day people won't remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel."  ~Maya Angelou.  

My AHA moment over the weekend.  This is absolutely true for my children too.  Of course they will also probably remember the details, because as long as it's not chore-related they have minds like a steal trap, so maybe this day will become of family legend, retold at the dinner table - remember that time...

But I'm getting sidetracked, that's not important to this post, back to the point...

Last weekend we went camping and found this awesome swimming hole on the river - like reminiscent of my childhood days in Montana good.  The boys begged Nick and I to swim across the river, so we did.  I huffed it in - is that even a word?  I don't know but I did it because I'll be darned if they think their mama can't hang, and get her hair wet.  Even if I'd prefer to stay on the shore.  And was totally gassed from that frigid river swim.

Thank you pride.

But what it turned into was so much more than that.  Once we all pushed past our fear and the feeling in our fingers, and swam across, they didn't want me to leave.  They Didn't Want Me To Leave.  So we strategized how to get the sunscreen across the river.  They felt capable and that they were contributing.  They forged a plan and executed, and adapted as needed with laughter and confidence.  I silently held my breathe as they canon balled off the rocks into the cold river depths and they felt brave.  I stayed, played, cheered.  We were a team, I wasn't telling them what to do, as I often do - a MAJOR drag of being a mom.  We laughed as Peyton game planned to rescue his beloved yet tragically water-logged stick from the river bed floor.  We chatted.  When Riese was in total turmoil over the floating aluminum can, we adventured down the river to scout where he could retrieve it.  Our only adenda to honor his need to not litter.  Then Peyton set off on a journey to track his fisherman father, and I gulped a big breathe of air and trusted that being 9 AND A HALF he was capable of walking out of sight along the shore between his daddy and I and would be fine.  AND the magical finale came when R rescued a magnificent dragon fly from drowning.  We could see the water spraying up into the air, reflecting golden against the sunset, as it beat its wings.

Seriously can't make this stuff up folks.  (you can see the video of this in my instastories today.)

I found myself praying that this moment, this afternoon into evening, would outshine all the times that I focus way too much on my children's flaws. 

I had forgotten my swimsuit top, I'm in a tank bra, feeling self-conscious about my one more cocktail please and ending every day with a s'more summer belly, but my boys don't care, the only notice that I showed up.  In that moment I felt incredibly beautiful and loved.

Earlier that day we had spent it with my dad, and reflecting back, I had felt loved and worthy and capable, humbled as I worked on a project with him that was contributing to something much greater than myself.  Loved because he just wanted to be with me, and talk.  No agenda to hurry the task along even if I felt the need to complete it.

So where am I going with all this??

I have been thinking about the significance of this day a lot and how these people I love made me feel, I will for surely forget the details, thank you 40.  But as we are about to begin this next school year I don't really know how forging across a river translates into brushing AND flossing your teeth without being reminded.  Or how we can be a team rather than opposing sides when it's well past bedtime and the giggling has to stop?  I am aware that when agendas enter back in, as they must at least partly, that I lean towards dictating and not empowering.

As a mom, at times I feel like I take on the world, often self-imposed, but also if I don't all the balls will fall.  And so what if they do?  If I'm being strategic about which balls, perhaps I need to become less so my kids can become more.

How can I empower my children in their everyday lives?

Weekly Family Meetings.
Definitely need to drop more balls.
Natural Consequences from their choices and decisions.  It is not my problem to solve but I am there to support and encourage them.  This one is SO hard!

Remember we are on the Same Team & The Value of Being Heard.

And I LOVE this quote referring to Positive Discipline...

"Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse?  Think of the last time you felt humiliated or treated unfairly.  Did you feel like cooperating or doing better??"   -Jane Nelson

Happy Labor Day!  May you feel empowered this weekend and empower someone else.  I know how they made me feel is stamped into my heart right now, hopefully longer than the ode to campfire smell in my hair.  So that's a start at least.

Empowered.  Capable.  Loved.  Worthy.

Thank you for reading.

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