There is a picture I copied several months back on facebook which has really been bugging me lately. I liked it at the time. Now, I find it totally irritating. It says something like, “Are you happy? If yes, keep doing what you’re doing. If no, change something.”
I’ve been thinking about it with annoyance quite a bit this first week of summer. I thought about it yesterday when Jack smashed a glass bowl and a glass candle jar. I consequently put him in his room for a time out, and the dumb picture again popped into my mind when Jack immediately dismantled his room (I had to drag the bed frame into the hallway when he upended it). I thought about it when he later pooped in his bedroom and then tantrumed because I simply wiped him down and skipped the reinforcing bath “reward” he was banking on.
What exactly should I change, I feel like asking the creator of this annoying, simplistic, bossy picture? What do you recommend? Should I rid my house of any form of glass? Should I forbid bathing ever again? Should bed frames be verboten? What’s the magic bullet of a change which is going to do the trick?
The irony with this scenario is that up until the smashing and smearing began, Jack had been having a really terrific day. He had a happy therapy session, an outing to explore the lovely gardens at Thanksgiving Point, and a good share of trampoline/hose/Otter Pop time in the backyard.
Tragically, today followed a similar pattern of a stellar therapy session, a fun outing with mom and brothers, some peaceful outdoor playtime, and then: Jack pushed over a glass-fronted cabinet, destroying it when the panes shattered everywhere.
Jack’s child psychiatrist weighed in on our rocky transition to summer by noting that this is another instance of Jack struggling to find his footing in a transition period. Transitions are completely brutal for him. Always. So we shouldn’t be surprised. I felt a vague sense of relief and validation knowing that it isn’t something I am failing to do that is sending him into this tailspin, but rather it’s something he inevitably has to work through.
In the midst of yestereve’s broken glass and poop extravaganza, someone knocked at the door. It was my neighbors Kara and Karleen who had chosen really the most terrifically perfect time to bring me a “Summer Survival Kit” which includes but is not limited to: Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate Squares and a bit of light escapist reading, among other treasures. Fantastically, this afternoon Jeff’s sister and stepmom also popped in for a serendipitous visit, and also came bearing Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate Squares.
Interestingly, after the destruction died down this afternoon, Jack approached me quietly and calmly and gave me a long hug. He has never done this before. Later in the evening as I bounced with him on the trampoline, he again gave me a peaceful, intentional hug. Maybe he was apologizing. Maybe he was saying he loves me.
As I have pondered Jack’s hugs, stowed my chocolate in the cupboard, unpacked my survival kit, and tearfully read the tag penned in Kara’s lovely handwriting, I have felt gratitude for compassionate people. I have also felt like God loves me. And I’m thankful He found a really lovely way to show me.