Have you heard of the One Little Word project? I love the idea that a word has the power to change our lives and our thinking. I’ve had fun choosing words in the past but they’ve all quickly fizzled out without much lasting impact.
This year, it feels as if this word chose me.
It began a few weeks ago when we were off for Christmas break. Traveling has always been stressful for me-even more so when the kids were little and we were facing ridiculously long flights. I’d like to think I’ve grown a bit in this area, but the truth is I still get worked up pretty easily. A few weeks ago we took the train from London to Paris and arrived mid-afternoon. We had 5 people, 4 bags, and 3 backpacks between us. Being seasoned travelers, Paul thought we could save some money and take the metro to our apartment. It sounded easy enough. Paul did his best to figure out our route looking at the web of colored subway lines and off we went. The commuters were just starting to leave work and the station was quite busy. When the next train pulled in Paul and I sandwiched the kids between us attempted to stuff ourselves in the car. Four out of the five us made it. Thankfully it was me who got stuck in the door and not one of the kids, but I really was stuck. I managed to step back on to the platform but not before my purse got stuck in the doors. Two women tried to help but the doors wouldn’t budge. Realizing I was running out of time I slipped the purse off my body and gave it a firm pull. It finally came out, though not in one piece. I could see my family through the windows and Paul motioned to me that they would wait at the next stop. The train pulled away and I was left in the silence of a mostly empty station.
I was shaken up and frustrated. I just wanted to be reunited with my family and at our apartment already. I closed my eyes and tried to collect my thoughts, but all I could hear in my brain was the word surrender.
Surrender, surrender, surrender. Deep breath. Surrender, surrender, surrender.
The word echoed between my ears and I felt myself soften. In an instant it became clear that this was my word. The word I most needed in 2016. I needed to stop trying to control everything and resisting my circumstances. I needed to appreciate where I was and what I was being asked to do.
I find that is so much of the challenge of mothering for me. When I am fighting the tides (and by the tides I mean tired children, changed plans, or any myriad of other life circumstances) I find myself more stressed, more grumpy, and just generally unhappy.
I suspect that as the year unfolds and as time goes by I will begin to see the impact of this word in my life even more clearly, but for now I am just getting to know it a little bit better.
Surrender. Surrender. Surrender.