Finding the positive.

There is someone in my life who is struggling with some fairly serious employment issues.  She had the presence of mind to send me a message knowing that I’m at home with four of my children who have strep throat and one with strep and some gastrointestinal upset (a.k.a. messy and gross).

After I told her about the type of morning I was having, she responded by saying “wow, I’m actually glad I’m at work” and she was serious.  Ah…perspective.

This is one of the most important ways to manage any problem we have in life.  It certainly doesn’t fix whatever issues we’re having but it can lift us out of the depths of despair, even just a rung or two, which can give us clarity in seeing solutions that weren’t available to us before.

Yesterday I was dreading the next couple of days with the kids, shut in, and doing nothing but trying to keep the peace and maintain civility when everyone feels crappy and aren’t wearing their “sharing” hats.  But, when I shamelessly complained on Facebook I got great feedback, in particular a comment that at least I was going to get it all over with in one fell swoop.  Ah yes, again, perspective.

But it all comes back to gratitude, something we truly need to practice everyday, making it a habit until it becomes automatic.

As I’ve said before, the first time I felt a little better about my situation after Stefanie died was when I realized that I could have lost Ian too.  It was in giving thanks for not having to carry that cross as well that I felt some relief.

It doesn’t need to be anything as drastic as that, but it’s a mind shift and it’s a CHOICE.  We can default to being miserable (a.k.a the victim) or we can choose to look for the positive in each situation and give thanks for it.

Whenever children (and sometimes adults too) are sick they instinctively want their parents.  They want to be held and comforted, wrapped in the warmth and love that a mother can offer.

I could look at it negatively and be frustrated at not having one second to myself, four feverish kids crawling all over me, desperate for a hot shower alone and exhausted from all the work, but what good would that do?

Rather than hang my head in misery, I’ve chosen to see things differently.  It doesn’t take much effort and the results are like a weight lifted off my chest and my aches don’t seem as bad.

It started with the comment on facebook and then reinforced by my friend’s comment later on in the morning.

For me, it’s easy.  Each one of these little monkeys depends on me.  I am the center of their universe (until Daddy comes home of course) and this won’t last forever.   How often do I have an excuse to stay in my pajamas, lounge in bed, watch cartoons and do basically nothing.

Tomorrow, 2 of the 3 will go back to school and I have a meeting with my boss at 9:30 a.m that I can’t miss.    That means getting up early, packing lunches, showering before noon, and a myriad of other things I normally do before 8 a.m.  So today I can lounge in my pj’s, go back to bed this afternoon while everyone naps and just enjoy the laziness of it all.

Tomorrow I’ll be grateful that they are on the mend,  that their spirits will be lifted and their patience with each other restored.  I will be grateful that James has the weekend off and we’ll be able to spend it together.   I’ll look forward to our evenings alone with adult conversation and reconnecting with each other.

Each day we choose how to face it.  A shift in focus can change our outlook and our mood.  Sometimes it’s automatic, but more times than not, we must decide to be positive especially when bombarded with so many negative messages.

When you feel yourself being sucked into all the negativity that seems to be self-perpetuating, tell yourself a different story with a positive twist.  Watch and see how much better your day gets and how your own aches and pains aren’t as severe.

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