A Sarine Thought… or Two
Remembering to Move Forward
Ah, 2021! Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes? While the spectacular shenanigans of your predecessor are, for the most part, best left to the recesses of our minds, some things are worth noting as we begin with you. Whether good, bad or ugly, many lessons were learned, and are necessary to remember, to move successfully into brighter days.
While 2020 proved to be a very trying year, it was not unfruitful. Yes, there were shutdowns, reopenings, natural disasters, a public health crisis, social discourse and very scary circumstances in abundance. Amid the pandemonium however, I discovered two very significant life impacting treasures about myself and my family.
First, when it comes to social and extra-curricular activities, quality is paramount to quantity. My pre-2020 scale measured fun and enjoyment as a successfully held commodity based solely on frequency. In any given week, there might have been multiple sports games for my son, ball practices, meetings, dinner and lunch dates and a couple of church services at a minimum. The Sarines were rolling in the proverbial “social dough.” We had loads of it.
Then 2020 hit, our social dough seemed to ferment and sour. Everything came to a screeching halt. It was just the three of us in our home doing what needed to be done with no outside buffers. Here is what I learned: It was not the frequency of socializing I missed, but the quality of it I longed for. I was okay with not going to a gym or ball field five nights out of seven, but I missed chatting with my sports mom friends. I wasn’t bothered with eating most of our meals at home, but I missed quality conversation and hearty laughter with friends and loved ones. I didn’t even long to share my opinions, but I did miss the camaraderie of working together with my co-workers. Once we could get together again, sparingly, I discovered I looked forward to those social moments much more knowing that there wasn’t an overwhelming number of them to attend. Now the conversations were more meaningful. The jokes were remarkably witty. The time at church was so much sweeter and encouraging. As a result, I will remember to make time management decisions on quality rather than quantity.
Second, my husband and I discovered invaluable information into unlocking the communication barrier between us and our pre-teen son. When our son was very young, Ross and I would look at each other and wonder how someone so small was in possession of so many words. His verbiage was uncontainable. Until it wasn’t. It was like he had entered the communication desert and there wasn’t a word oasis to be found for miles. Getting him to talk about anything was like pulling teeth. Since he is an only child, the shutdown of schools was a tough blow. He only had his parents to talk to since we don’t currently allow him to have a phone. Oh, the horror! About three weeks into the stay at home order, we noticed there would be entire days he would not speak one full sentence. This was deeply disturbing to us both. Because of this development, we allowed him to download a video game that made it possible for him to talk with some of his peers. We also got outside as a family. We would walk or run around our neighborhood most days. Once we broke out of the walls of our home, the words burst forth from that boy like a geyser! He asked questions. He answered questions.
I’m not lying a bit when I say he actually laughed when we said something funny! It was exhilarating. As things began to resemble normalcy again, we tried to continue our walks together a few times a week. Lo-and-behold, his words were still there. They had never left. They had just been hiding. Now, I will remember to walk with my son so we can continue communicating together.
Now, there are many items that could have made this list over my many trips around the sun, but a specific one has come to my attention as I live with other human beings: they are not always happy and pleasant. My husband fooled me with his easy-going, humor-filled demeanor while we dated. His feathers hardly ever ruffled. When I was in a tizzy, he was just tepid. When I thought the world was about to implode, he would just crack a joke, do something brilliant, or sweet, and right my wrongs once again. That was when we only spent about 20 to 30 hours a week together though. When our time together became permanently regular, something strange happened. Rarely, but enough that I am taken aback on the occasion, he can be grumpy. He can get upset. He can yell. He can, Heaven help me, think he’s right and I’m wrong! What in the world?!
If that weren’t enough, my sweet little baby boy, who could not be more precious, shocked us when he had emotional outbursts and negative reactions to the obviously brilliant, wise things we told him in the attempt to make him a productive member of society. Ross and I would look at each other confused and ask, “How was telling him navy and black don’t match offensive?” “Why is he crying because we asked him to turn off his show and come enjoy quality time with his indelibly wonderful parents?” I was dumbfounded. Both people in my home are capable of being in a foul mood!
Now, full disclosure, I too am capable of ill humor every now and again, BUT I never hid that from either of these people. Ross knew from the very beginning that I have more of what my mother likes to call “a passionate personality.” As I age, sometimes that “passion” level escalates EXTREMELY quickly with little provocation. Even I am sometimes surprised by how deeply I feel about things, and if you know me, you are aware I am not known for my meek and quiet demeanor.
I’m loud, and I’m proud! Yet, in all my outbursts to either my husband or my son, they have each offered me something I always desperately need when my self-control leans more to the self-side of the scale: grace. So, as I continue to pursue life with these amazing humans, I will remember that when they get grumpy, irritable, mad, or occasionally irrational, I will offer grace, instead of sass, in return.
The ugly memories are some of the hardest to look back on, but if we are to grow successfully, we must look. While these memories are not exclusively linked to aesthetics, the one from which I learned the most produced humble confidence.
Let’s face it, we all go through a stage where we are not reaching our full potential in the beauty department. Mine was in my early teens when I realized bangs weren’t doing me any favors. As a young girl, I did not value well-coifed hair. Unfortunately, this means I had a long and lingering affair with my forehead fringe. As a girl of elementary age, my bangs were delightfully floppy with a hint of curl. As I grew into middle school, what had once been delightful was now distractingly unattractive, but I struggled to let them go. Any girl knows that if you get rid of the bangs, you are welcoming complete vulnerability to your forehead and face. Sometimes, however, to move to greener hair pastures, one must rip off that band-aid, pull those puppies back and let ‘em grow! Through this experience, I know that bangs, while wonderfully suited for some, are not a shot I need to take.
As we look forward to the possibilities ahead, it’s good to remember the things we have learned from our past. This will keep us in the practice of recognizing teachable moments in the future. Happy 2021, friends! May we see blessings and lessons abound as we remember and move forward.