A few weeks ago while away at a conference I found myself completely awake in my hotel room listening to the sounds of a very upset little one refusing to be comforted by a very distressed mama. It was such a heart wrenching moment for me, reliving those anxious days when the boys couldn’t tell me how to help them. Her anxiety was palpable as I recalled my own.
As it is frowned upon to knock on the hotel door of a complete stranger at 1am and ask if they need an extra set of hands with their infant…I said a few prayers and posted to Facebook.
Not long after I put my phone away, the crying stopped and the quiet in the room returned…but my brain had just started up, my mind and heart rushing with the impact of the anonymous exchange that had just taken place.
Some of my thoughts from that night, and a few reflections since then…
1. I am so blessed to have awesome colleagues, family members and friends step up and into my corner.
Where would I be without those people in my life that are on the “other side of the wall” cheering me on, hoping for my success, encouraging me to keep going. The power of having positive people around you can not be measured. I believe that having a good mentor can truly impact your life. Someone who has walked where you are walking and without judgement or condescension but with empathy speak hope to your heart-these people are gold! Find them, keep them, be them.
2. Wherever I am, and whatever the situation, I am grateful for the gift of perspective.
This too shall pass. Nothing lasts forever. Sometimes in the middle of night it feels like the proverbial baby will never stop crying. But I have two almost 6ft babies that no longer wake up screaming and demanding a bottle. There are new worries, that is true, but this phase won’t last either. I am going to try to remember to enjoy the process and learn in the moment, knowing that this season will give way to another, and before I know it-I will be on the other side of the wall.
3. Sometimes support is active, and sometimes it require more distant cheering and good vibes.
I need to continue to think through support roles. (Hang with me on this one.) Obviously, I wouldn’t barge into a stranger’s room and offer to soothe a child I haven’t met…but I wanted to help. I really did. There are situations in my role as an educator, as a parent, as a friend where offers of support are needed and welcomed and even asked for. But I think that there are sometimes when I swoop in to help, genuinely wanting to be supportive, and the effort falls flat, isn’t well received, or doesn’t truly meet the need.
In learning and in life, there are some things that we have to do alone. I know that is true for myself-I have to remember that is true for others. I want to support (my boys, my husband, my friends, my team, my colleagues. and those around me) in a way that is wise and meaningful to the other person.
4. Prioritize progress and process over perfection…learn in the moment, commit to growth, always, always breathe.
I need to take my own advice, “be easy on yourself, take a deep breath.” I laid there that night thinking and rethinking (common practice for a recovering perfectionist) while telling the stranger to relax and give herself some space for growth. It is easier said than done, and I am working on it. “Choosing kindness” extends to others AND applies to the words I use to speak to myself.
5. We are all in this together. Learn from and lean on the people around you.
The number of likes and loves and comments on this middle of the night Facebook post reaffirmed to me that we are all on this journey together. We have all been on both sides of the wall, and we are here for each other. It makes my heart happy to know that we don’t face this lesson or this life alone.
In the middle of the night, from a crying baby, through a Facebook post, with and from all of you…I am still learning.