Sunday, September 19, 2010

Our diving expedition begins...

So, I'm going to try this whole blogging thing. I need to start a journal, so what better way to do it than the way I spend too much of my time anyway?

I have three wonderful, beautiful children that sometime drive me absolutely batty. But, I wouldn't trade a moment of it for anything in the world - or not in the world! I am so very blessed to have three perfectly healthy, perfectly happy, perfectly blessed children. I need to stop and take the time to realize all of the happy times, and how they outweigh the bad times, even though the bad times seem to take the forefront of my mind.

Hence, the name of my blog. I liken life as a parent to dumpster diving. If "life is a box of chocolates" then parenting is a dumpster. Let me explain my theory. For a moment, take your mind to the dumpsters sitting around your city or town. What all is in those dumpsters? Trash, yes, certainly. There are some very bad, very stinky, very unworthy items in that dumpster. People toss everything from old, decaying food to smelly, worn-out gym shoes, to torn-up photos of people who have hurt them. But, people also toss other things into those dumpsters; things that qualify nicely for the phrase "one man's trash is another man's treasure". Toys that children have outgrown, that have been carelessly tossed into the dumpster, are joyfully found by those less fortunate and saved from untimely demise in the compacter of the trash truck. Outgrown clothing has been salvaged from people who thought only of clearing space for themselves and not of others in need. Sometimes even brand-new items that have been found wanting for buyers in stores can be found amongst the discarded cardboard tie straps and tied-up trash bags of litter in a dumpster behind a retail store.

My point is that there are a lot of negative and detestable moments in parenting. Disciplining our children makes us feel horrible inside, like that darkened banana that was tossed. But, even that banana could have been used to bake banana bread! Doing laundry and cooking meals, especially on those days that we are completely exasperated, seem to be the toughest chores of all - sorta feels like carrying a load of old, used bricks to the dumpster. But, even those broken bricks can be used to make a beautiful mosiac. Losing our patience is something that every parent experiences. But, those difficult moments make the easier moments so much sweeter! I've yet to find a negative experience in either parenting or life itself that did not have something sweet and useful buried somewhere within the sour and stinky.

We tend to focus our attentions on not only the negative behavior of our children, but the negative moments of parenting. The household chores that never, ever end, the toys we step on in the middle of the night, the disipline that momentarily hurts our child... those are the moments that seem to be completely overwhelming. Let's start looking at the positive, useful, and hard-to-see moments - those spontaneous hugs after tying a shoe, the looks of adoration from helping them learn something new, the smiling faces with closed eyes from the warmth of fresh-from-the-dryer towels, the satisfied looks of a full tummy after a dinner we didn't feel like cooking. Those precious treasures gleaned from a dumpster full of stinky stuff...

If we can only look far enough to see the bigger picture, to put all of the smaller pieces of parenting together, we will see an accomplishment that is grander than even the seven wonders of the world. All of the negative experiences combined with the positive experiences make a beautiful mosiac of a life shaped and formed by each one.

So, let's go dumpster diving! Let's find all of the golden moments in the dumpster of parenting - that one useful thing in the midst of the terrible, stinky moments. If our attitude is our altitude, let's come back up with something worthwhile when we're climbing out!