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Take the power to make your life happy.

>> 11 January 2009

This life is yours.

Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well.

Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly.

Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature.

Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you.

Take the power to make your life happy.

-- Susan Polis Schutz

At 10 am this morning, Loïc, my 2 and half year old son and I were having tea and a cookie. The baby is usually asleep around then and Loïc cherishes this time he can spend alone with his mother. The sun was shining outside despite the -10 degrees Celsius.

All of a sudden Loïc asks me to go play with him outside in the sandbox (his favorite activity since summer and no matter what the weather conditions are). I usually get him dressed and let him out to play by himself but he was very good at insisting that I came along this time: drooping, pleading dog eyes, slight pull at my sleeve, 'pleeeaaaase Mommie'. How could I resist?

We got dressed - which took a while, what with the -10 outside and hence the need of multiple layers of clothing - and stumbled outside into the sunny cold. Loïc rushed to the sandbox and immediately started pulling out stuff to show me: a bulldozer, a bucket, a small rake and shovel. 'Come Mommie, help me'.

And I thought 'Uggghhh, why can't he just play and I watch him? Do I have to do this?' (it was 10 am and -10 degrees I have to repeat). I sat down - what else could I do? - and started raking the half-frozen sand.

It got me thinking. When we are little, we love to play in the sand, in the water, in the woods, in the barn - you name it. We can spend hours doing something repetitiously. And we hate it when our parents call us inside because it's dinner time. We have the feeling there is never enough time to play the games we love.
And when we get older and are finally allowed to decide about our own time, how come we have stopped loving such little, silly games? Now that we can have all the time in the world, why are we not playing in the sandbox or in the woods all the time instead of watching tv or surfing the web?

My mindset shifted and I started enjoying raking the sand, heaping sand into the truck. We started running around the garden, aimlessly (another favorite occupation of my son - which I usually get him up to because it tires him out and he will be ready for a nap :-).

There was still a thin layer of snow in the garden and we got out these big plastic shovels they make for sliding down the hill on your bum with. I showed Loïc how to do this and after a few failed attempts, he finally managed to keep his feet in the air and slide down the slope. What a joy to hear that laughter, coming from deep within a child's heart. 'Again Mommie, again¨!'. And off we went for about 15 minutes (typical time spent on one activity before getting bored and needing to do something else) when we switched to the swings. I hadn't sat on a swing since summer and I can tell you it's a whole different experience when it's cold. It's great!

When he was ready to go off into the sandbox again I had to stop him because it was lunchtime. He moped and didn't want to come inside. But I had my secret weapon: the lure of home-cooked food and he was running to get inside and out of his playing clothes.

So this morning I chose to play with my son and did it well and loved it. I was part his game and of nature.
I took the power to control my feelings and hence the direction of the morning. I took control to make my life happy.

It seems such a small, unimportant step, but deciding to really be there and enjoying it was the best thing I did today.


Lance 12 January 2009 at 02:51  

What a wonderful story, Mimi! I love this - how often do we forget about the little things that used to be fun, and now we just don't do anymore. "Take the power to make your life happy." Mimi, you've really reminded me today of the importance of simply having fun! Thank you for sharing this story today!

Anonymous,  12 January 2009 at 03:17  

I still treasure the alone time I get to have with each of my children. This morning I spent hours playing with trains with my youngest son. He was so happy playing in his indoor sandbox (his bedroom) and getting quality alone time with his mommy.

Mindful Mimi 12 January 2009 at 10:36  

@Lance: It is great to sometimes do the silly things of one's youth. Like dancing around the kitchen singing 80ies music :-) We should do something like this every day and I am grateful for having children that allow me to be childish every day.

@Stacey: it is important to spend time with each child alone. Not only for Mommie but also for the Dad. They need that. Playing with trains is fun! We haven't reached that age group yet...

Anonymous,  12 January 2009 at 21:54  

Not having a child myself, I have to imagine that one of the great things they bring to our lives is the constant reminder to stop being so serious, and jump in the sandbox once in a while. Great Story Mimi! We all need a reminder sometimes to act like a child more and less like a stuffy adult. :-)

Vered 13 January 2009 at 05:31  

happens to me too... I reluctantly start playing with them and end up enjoying the game and the bonding experience.

Mindful Mimi 13 January 2009 at 08:29  

@ Jay: Thanks for stopping by. Acting like a child is very important. It connects us with the fun, real me. I think that everyone should be obliged to be around smaller children (and old people as well for different reasons) - it would make this world a better place.

@ Vered: it is funny how we feel guilty for not instantly liking the silly playtime. We are so boxed in as adults...

Anonymous,  13 January 2009 at 12:20  

Most certainly, I can identify with the reluctance as what you and Vered has shared. Like both of you, I often find myself having a good time thereafter. Kids are great at reminding us how important it is to stay in the present. Tasks that we would otherwise have done can wait!!

Mindful Mimi 14 January 2009 at 10:42  

@Evelyn: kids ground us, they show us what is important, what really matters. The key is to let them, to not be swayed away by stupid, silly tasks we think need to be done NOW.

CG Walters 16 January 2009 at 13:39  

Mimi, this wonderful article is featured in the latest edition of CelebraZine http://kathmandau.blogspot.com/2009/01/celebrazine16jan09.html
Thank you for your work and what you add to our world!
Many blessings to you and all you hold dear,

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