Finding Joy in the Chaos

Let It Go

By: Janelle (5/28/14)
Don’t worry.  This post isn’t about Frozen or mythical talking snowmen, though I bet you’re singing “Let It Go” to yourselves now

for the millionth time (you’re welcome).  This post is about letting go.  Not of our children as they grow up.  Not of friends or

loved ones as we move to new chapters in our lives.  Instead, I’m talking about letting go of the need to control anything and

everything – letting go of the need to do everything because someone else will (allegedly) screw it up anyway. 

Not a day goes by that I don’t think “I could just do this better or faster myself” about one task or another.  Sometimes the task is

work-related and sometimes it’s a chore at home or a responsibility with the boys.    Sometimes us women take on too much because

we feel as though others are incapable of handling something or simply because we want to do everything for everyone.  This is

especially true for moms managing careers that can often be very hectic and stressful.  We are struggling between doing well at work,

spending “enough” time with our kids, and keeping a clean and organized house.  So since we don’t want to leave our jobs, we kill

ourselves mentally, emotionally, and physically do everything.  To control everything.  We don’t trust our partners, our family, our

friends to help us because we think they won’t do it “right.”  The end result is predictable of course because we simply cannot do everything. 

There will never be enough hours in the day.    Over the years one thing I have done much better with is letting things go to someone

else willing to handle them.  My 3-year old loves to put the silverware away.  But he’s not always the best as putting the big forks with

the big forks and the little spoons with the little spoons.  That used to bother me, but now I welcome the help.  If he thinks it’s fun to do the

dishes, then by all means I’m going to let him do the dishes – haphazard silverware drawers be damned!  Sometimes I reach for a knife and

I grab a Spiderman spoon instead.  Oh well.    The same goes for my trust in my husband.  When we had our first son I wanted to do

everything for him because I felt like my husband wouldn’t rock him the way I did, feed him the way I did, bathe him the way I did.  And

of course he didn’t.  Because he had to figure out his own way to be a parent to our son.  But you know what?  We all survived.  I may

have come home from work or a business trip more than once to a child wearing nothing but a diaper, but what I started realizing was that

this child in a diaper had just spent quality time with his father that he probably would have never had if I had not just let go so they could

find their own way.     I could not still be doing what I do every day at work and parenting 2 rambunctious boys if I hadn’t learned how

to let go of the desire to control everything and do everything.  I still fight it on occasion, but the truth is that I am a better person when I

trust other people and when I stop insisting that my way is the way everything must be done. 


The End of May
   
            
By: Jenny (5/27/14)
I think this time of year hits me harder than most others in the department of goodbyes and new beginnings. 
My oldest daughter, only 4, is in her last week of preschool.  She’ll go to a different school next year, and she
won’t see her now-beloved classmates anymore.  Her lovely teacher, like all of the others to follow, I guess, will
become a memory to her, instead of a constant presence.  She refers to two of her classmates as her "brothers,”
and I know that she doesn’t understand that this week’s goodbyes are probably permanent.  I almost don’t want
her to understand that.  She is a child who counts down the hours to when her grandmothers and other visitors
will leave her.  She is a worrier.  And even though I know the road ahead is full of happiness and opportunity for
her, it breaks my heart a little bit to see her learn about leaving people and moving on. 
This is the time of year of all of my own graduations.  This is the time of year when I set off into “what next.”  
To college, to a new city, to a new job, then back to school and all of it over again. It was over Memorial Day
weekend that I packed up my Jeep and my dog and drove across the country to start a new life once upon a time,
long after all the graduations were in my rear view.  It was Memorial Day weekend when I came back, to be
closer to friends and family, in the hopes of finding some permanence. 

May was always a time for celebration, but also for those goodbyes.  To the friends you promised to stay close with. 
To places that had become home.  To what had gone before, to make room for what was to come.  May is change. 
It helps that you get to change like that in the pretty, sunny, warm hues of summer, it distracts you from the pain of the process.

The older I get, the less I notice the seasons for what they signify—the end of one thing, the beginning of another. 
I’ve had the same job for years now, and the rise and fall of the school year has long been replaced by the constant
painful march of the billable hour, onward toward December.  But now there are these little people in my life, and I see the
world unfolding in front of them in all its splendor.  And also the pain.  The sadness of knowing you won’t see that
friend again.  Of realizing that another kid will take your seat in the classroom, and the teacher that was so important
to you will have other children to teach and console who have literally taken your place.  I’m not sure it isn’t harder to watch
the little people you love learn this.  I suppose the grace of the situation is knowing—watching from a distance of decades—
that it really will all turn out okay.  What was it Dr. Seuss said?  “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” 
Something like that. It all turns out okay, but it never gets easier to move on from people who have become your home.